Ripely vintage cycle jumble 28/04/2012

Ooooo, this is a toughie. How can I slag off craft fairs where I sell very little, yet now praise a cycle jumble where I also sell very little?
Today I was at the Ripley event with my 8 year old daughter. Again I was trying to sell t-shirts and again I failed. Yet today both of us came home happy and contented. And do you know what the difference was? At the jumble all of the people are there voluntarily; no bored husbands or wives being dragged around as you'd find at a fair. Everybody was positive and happy. To a man every single person who looked at my t-shirts were not only positive people, they were happy and each had a story to tell.
I spent the whole event chatting away, something that does not come naturally to me. It also helped that the event was centred on bikes of course, but that wasn't the reason I enjoyed it. How many of us have been into an Aladin's cave of a bike shop only to promptly walk out as the staff were grumpy gits?
My stall was set up to sell t-shirts and mountain bike bits. This was always going to be a tough call at a Victorian event wasn't it? But people now remember my eccentric designs and come over for a chat. I too remember some of them, and that's really nice. Now, to be blunt some of the people are slightly eccentric, bordering on a bit mad. Obsessive does not cater as an adequate description. None of them care a toss for fashion, most go for the purposefully utilitarian look. Raining? Fisherman's smock then.

26/06/2012: Update.

Well now. Since writing this report I've met the organiser of the event. It would seem that there's an undercurrent of discontent in that for the main the people that operate the stalls bring in the same old gear year after year with no change in stock. Stuff that doesn't sell gets bunged into the shed, to be brought out six months later on at the next event. And to a degree I can see where she's coming from - the people next to me actually said that's what they'd been doing for years, and there were a few others that I recognised. Lazy really isn't it? Yet it would take quite a bit of effort to find new stuff to sell as we're such a dense country - there's nowhere to hide stuff really, and it's difficult to turf stuff up. I know this from when I did the rare workshop manuals a few years back. Gradually you clear an area, then start to infringe on the catchment area of other traders.

I have a friend who does old road bike gear on eBay. He used to do it in the UK but to a very small degree. Now that he's moved to southern France he's able to find much, much more stuff as it's just there for the taking. Few euros and you have a rare road bike to strip that can make four hundred pounds as spares. This is his only source of income now and he's doing better financially than I am, and I work in a good job. Indeed the stall holder on the other side of me did just that; spend a month or two touring France buying up what they could. Their stall stocked mainly components found in this way, and they did good trade.

So stallholders, if you don't want to be boring, spend a few weeks touring Belgium, France or Italy and pick up some new stock.